People in large numbers across the country are currently denied many benefits conferred by the government under different rights, subsidies in particular, for two main reasons, namely, absence of an identity and presence of 'ghosts' in the related databases.

'Aadhar' number addresses both issues as it is unique and based on biometric technology, recording finger prints of individuals and cornea of the eye in a highly secure system, with the facility of verifying the identity online and instantly.

Given the assurance that the benefits under different rights such as right to adequate food, employment and others, 'Aadhaar' answers the issue of social inclusion to an appreciable extent, opined Dr. Nandan Nilekani, Chairperson, Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI).

He was delivering the annual D.V. Narasimha Rao Memorial talk on the topic "The Aadhaar project and social inclusion" under the joint auspices of the Institution of Engineers, Mysore Centre and Dr. D. Rajagopala Rao and Desiraju Family in SP Bhat Hall of the Institution here last evening.

Explaining the scope of Aadhar number, the speaker said that it provides a unique identity that translates into state recognition of individuals as well as an unfailing proof of that identity. The system also ensures that the social benefits are received only by deserving individuals, he added.

Digital Technology

Emergence of the digital world required a fail-safe number for identity of every individual and Aadhar number meets that need online, he said and added no individual gets more than one number for establishing his or her identity.

The system has used biometric technology mainly for social inclusion for the first time in the world, he disclosed. Combination of fingerprints and iris of both eyes is sufficient for uniqueness across a billion people, he explained.

The exercise of providing unique identification number, including de-duplication was a huge computational exercise, he said. One million enrolments results in billions of cases of cross-checking, he added.

The architecture of the Aadhar project comprises the facility of online verification, unambiguous proof of identity and uniqueness, he said. More than 270 million citizens have already obtain their Aadhar numbers, he disclosed. About 600 million citizens would be getting the number over five years of the project by 2014, he said.

Verification Online

Banks, mobile phone providers, PDS system, life insurance companies, healthcare systems and so on can verify the particulars of Aadhar number holders online and the verification happens at the point of service. The facility is what is nowadays familiar as 'Know Your Customer (KYC),' he said.

Electronic KYC dramatically reduces the barrier to access social benefits and services, he explained. The Union government spends nearly Rs. 300,000 crore annually on various subsidies. A completely automated system based on Aadhar number sends the subsidy money to those whom it is due without duplication, with the added feature of eliminating ghost beneficiaries, the speaker said. This was very important considering involvement of hundreds of crores of transactions, across the country, he added.

Reining the corrupt and fraudulent practices in daily life is an important aspect of social inclusion, Nilekani remarked. In case of reaching the subsidy to village residents, banks would appoint Business Correspondents for the purpose, he said. The other laudable objective of 'Aadhar' is to ensure that the benefits conferred by the government reaches the marginalised sections of society, he added.

Responding to questions from the audience, the speaker said that those who have enrolled their names for getting Aadhar number but yet to receive the same many approach the local offices of the project. There is no age bar for enrolling, he said.

The function began with invocation by Deepa Devaiah and welcome by Programme Co-ordinator K.B. Bhaskar. Dr. T. Ananthapadmanabha, Chairman, Institution of Engineers, Mysore Centre, presided and introduced the Speaker.

Secretary B.S. Ramesh presented an account of the progress of the Institution. Dr. D. Rajagopala Rao, Trustee of the D.V. Narasimha Rao Memorial, gave a biographical account of Narasimha Rao.

Former Chairman of IE, A.S. Satish, proposed a vote of thanks. Dr. Nandan Nilekani and Dr. D. Rajagopala Rao were felicitated on the occasion.

About 400 citizens attended the lecture programme. Ashok Dalvoy, Deputy Director, Aadhar Project and Desiraju family members were present.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore